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Breaching your licence

Breaching your licence can result in an unlimited fine and/or six months in prison

Being a Premises Licence Holder, Designated Premises Supervisor or other ‘responsible person’ on a premises licence carries a lot of responsibility. In addition to the risk of having the licence reviewed, you can be prosecuted for breaches of the licence.

Breaches can come in many different forms. For example:

  • Selling alcohol outside the hours authorised on your licence;
  • Breaching the mandatory conditions, for example, not having an age verification policy or carrying on irresponsible drinks promotions;
  • Breaching conditions specific to your licence, for example, CCTV cameras not working, door staff registers not being completed or allowing children entry contrary to a condition on your licence;
  • Selling alcohol without the authorisation of a Personal Licence Holder or, for example, when the Designated Premises Supervisor has left the business and has not been replaced;
  • Trading the premises when the actual layout does not correspond to the layout shown on the licence plans, for example, where walls have been erected or fire exits sealed up.

Breaches of a premises licence or club premises certificate can be serious or minor, and enforcement should be proportionate to the breach.

Prosecution or Review is not the only enforcement option open to the Authorities. Whilst there are very limited circumstances in which the Police or other Authorities can close you down at short notice, where a significant and serious breach is found (for example, a risk to fire safety) and you are advised firmly by the Authority to close until the breach is remedied, you would be well-advised to do so. The alternative could be a combination of Review, prosecution and a formal closure notice.

The vast majority of Licensees comply with their licence conditions and where there are allegations of a breach these can often be because the Authorities themselves have simply interpreted the condition in a different way to the licence holder.

Our lawyers have many years’ experience in drafting and advising on the impact of licence conditions and will work with you as well as the enforcing Authority to ensure compliance whilst pushing back against any over-zealous interpretation.

If you need more information on the laws surrounding the breaching of premises licences, contact one of our licensing solicitors. They will give you initial legal advice on what your best options are.

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